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Basic Indexing Guidelines
Symptoms (Problems)

What are the Basic Indexing Guidelines?


Basic Indexing Guidelines are instructions for all projects.  If project instructions, field helps, or project updates do not answer an indexing question, refer to Basic Indexing Guidelines for an answer to the question.

Answer (Resolution)

Basic Indexing Guidelines:

Type What You See

Corrected Information

Mistakes on Original Documents

Image Type

Blank Lines

Ditto Marks

Variations in the Records

Unreadable Records

Unknown

Punctuation

Duplicate Images

Fractions or Letters in Number Fields

Lookup Lists

Red Wavy Line or Colored Background

Gender

Separate or Common Law in Marriage Field

Other Basic Indexing Guidelines (instructions for indexing names, place-names, dates, and ages)

 

 

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Type What Is Written on the Document:

Most of the time, index what is written on the document. Exceptions are listed in the field help, project instructions, or project updates.

  • Indexes are being created to help individuals find their ancestors. The researcher is then able to review the information on the record image to form his or her own interpretations and conclusions.

  • The index should correspond to the information on the image you are viewing.

  • The most important information on each image is:

    • The name of the individual the record is about.

    • The dates and places referring to the record’s event (birth, marriage, death, census, etc.).

    • Names of other related individuals on the record.

All of the information requested is important for the final index, to allow researchers to search for and find individuals more easily. If you have questions as you index:

  • Refer to the field help, project instructions, and project updates.

  • Refer to the Basic Indexing Guidelines.

  • Use your best judgment.

  • Do not assume information, such as place-names that are not specifically listed.

  • Contact your local administrator or FamilySearch Support, if needed.

Corrected Information:

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Some records have corrected, crossed out, or replaced information.

  • If information is crossed out and replaced, type the replacement data.

  • If information is crossed out, not replaced, but the original information can be read, type the crossed-out information.

  • If information is crossed out, not replaced, and the original information cannot be read, press Ctrl+U to mark the field unreadable.

A document which is marked "canceled" is treated the same as corrected or crossed out information.

Mistakes on Original Documents:

Occasionally, mistakes are found in the information entered on the original document. Because the index should reflect what is on the image, type what was written on the document. The researcher who finds the image can decide on the accuracy of the information. This one rule exception is for projects which include both a gender and a relationship field. If both the given name and the relationship fields agree, correct the gender. For example, if a census record has the given name as Mary, the relationship as wife, and the gender as male, change the gender to female.

Image Type:

Click 105559 to see Header Data Image Types and how to index Normal, Blank, Duplicate, No Extractable Data, Unreadable, or Military and Naval Schedules images.

Blank Lines:

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Accounting for blank lines when the number of records are preset and Menu item Tools and then Records per image cannot be reduced:

  • When a blank line occurs while indexing a project that has typed or handwritten line numbers on the image and those line numbers are indexed, mark the entire record or line blank. Do not index the line number.

  • When a blank line occurs while indexing a project that has typed or handwritten line numbers on the image but those line numbers are not indexed, do not index the line as a blank line. After all records have been indexed, account for the blank lines at the end of the batch.

  • When a blank line occurs while indexing a project that does not record line numbers, do not index the line as a blank line. After all records have been indexed, account for the blank lines at the end of the batch.

Ditto Marks:

When ditto marks or other signs of repetition appear in a record, type the information that was dittoed. Do not enter the word "ditto" or the ditto mark. Signs of repetition possibly include "Do" or a straight line under the surname of the Head of Household.

Variations in the Record:

Type all versions in the appropriate fields, separating them with the word "or." Variations might include such things as "1843 or 1848" or "Frederico or Francis."

Unreadable Records:

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If you are unable to decipher information or if information is unreadable, a portion of a word, all of a field, or all of a record is marked as unreadable. Type all of the readable numbers and letters. Indicate which information is unreadable.

  • If you are unable to read one number or letter, use one wild-card character, the question mark (?), to replace the unreadable number or letter. Note: Not all number fields will accept the wild-card ?.
    Example: H?ndley

  • For multiple consecutive unreadable numbers or letters, use one wild-card character, the asterisk (*), to replace the group of numbers or letters. Note: Not all number fields will accept the *.
    Example: Di*son

  • For unreadable numbers or letters for a single field, click in the field, and click the Mark the field unreadable button.
    Note: You can also click in the field, and press Ctrl+U to mark a field as unreadable, or right-click a field and select Mark Field Unreadable.

  • For unreadable numbers or letters for a record, including the name, date, and any of the other required fields, click in a field for the record, and click the Mark the record unreadable button.
    Note: You can also click in a field, and press Ctrl+Shift+U to mark an entire record as unreadable, or right-click in a field, and select
    Mark Record Unreadable.
    When a field or record are marked as unreadable, the system places the term <Unreadable> in the field or in the entire record.

Unknown:

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In most projects, descriptive words such as "unknown" or "don't know" are indexed as a blank field.

  • If "unknown" or "don't know" appears in a required field, press Ctrl+B to mark the field as blank.

  • If "unknown" or "don't know" appears in a field that is not required, press Tab to skip the field.

Punctuation:

If punctuation, such as a hyphen (-) or an apostrophe ( '), is normally part of a name, type it. If not, do not include it. Do not type periods, commas, parentheses, semicolons, or ampersands () after initials, abbreviations, or between multiple levels of localities for any of the fields.

Duplicate Images:

  • Duplicate images occur when two pictures were taken of the exact same document.

  • Duplicate information can be found on other images but is not to be considered a duplicate image; duplicate information is not the same thing as a duplicate image.

  • Usually, duplicate images within the same batch are not to be indexed. Any exceptions are noted in the project instructions or project updates.

  • Mark only images within the same batch as duplicates. Do not mark an image as a duplicate image based on what is on the previous or the next page.

Fractions or Letters in Number Fields:

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  • In fields other than age, such as address, certificate number, house number, etc., if the number includes fractions, index only the whole number and disregard the fraction unless otherwise specified in the field helps. The majority of projects will not accept the slash (/).

  • If a number includes a letter, and the entry field only accepts numbers, disregard the letter.

Lookup Lists:

A lookup list is a collection of common names, places, races, or other types of information that can help decipher data for the field. The lookup lists automatically download with the batch and are available during indexing. The lists are intended as a guide to help decipher difficult to read information. Check the lookup lists to see if the name or place appears in the lookup list. However, the lookup lists are limited and don't include every spelling variation, especially for names. If the recorder wrote something that is not in the list, type what was written on the document.

If a field has a lookup list, click in the field to see a down arrow at the end of the field. Then click the down arrow, and then click Lookup at the end of the drop-down list.

Red Wavy Line or Colored Background:

  • Any information that does not match the lookup list appears with a red wavy line or colored background.

  • Words marked with the colored background do not mean that you made a mistake, since the lookup list cannot always include all possibilities.

  • Before a batch is submitted, a quality check is made of the information indexed. During the quality check, recheck any data marked with a red wavy line or colored background. Change the data, or indicate that entered data is correct.

Gender:

  • The gender of an individual is normally indexed only if it is specifically recorded on the document.

  • Exception: Gender may be assumed from relationship terms, such as son, daughter, or wife.

  • Exception: Gender may be assumed from specific titles, such as Mr or Mrs.

  • Do not assume a gender based on given names.

Separated or Common Law in Marriage Field:

  • How to index separated recorded in marriage field?  Index as married.

  • How to index common law recorded in marriage field?  Index as married.

Other Basic Indexing Guidelines and Helps:

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  • 112975 Basic Indexing Guidelines: All Documents

  • 102813 Basic Indexing Guidelines: Names

  • 102812 Basic Indexing Guidelines: Place-Names

  • 102814 Basic Indexing Guidelines: Dates

  • 111803 Basic Indexing Guidelines: Ages

  • 108440 Basic Indexing Guidelines: Other

  • Glossary of Terms

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